Recipe: Curried Battered Chicken

Last night, I got home from work, went for a run and was STARVING by the time I walked in the door. I made my first green smoothie (more on that soon!) that I didn’t find completely revolting and then decided to make some curried battered chicken, steamed brussel sprouts with some quinoa. The only thing was, Iwas too excited to eat and I didn’t stop to think things through so I put the spices in the egg batter and not the flour. Nevertheless, it still turned out decent and just like the quinoa patties, I found myself eating half of the cooked chicken pieces before they had time to cool!

This recipe is simple, easy, and delicious! Because I’m talking about turmeric this week, I added my own mix of curry spices but feel free to get as creative as possible with yours! You can’t really go wrong.

The other thing I wanted to quickly mention is that since I’m not really into bread, I decided to name this recipe “battered” rather than “breaded”. Do you know if there’s really a big difference between the two? I know we batter fish but can we batter chicken? Why not!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil (as needed)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut – optional!
  • Rice flour (as needed)
  • 4 chicken thighs or 1 large chicken breast cut into small pieces or strips
  • 3 tbsp soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

Method

In a  medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg and milk together until frothy. In a smaller bowl, mix about 1/4 cup of flour, the spices and the coconut if you want to add some exotic zing to it. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Don’t do what I did and mix the spices in with the egg batter. The spices won’t stick very well to your chicken. It’s ridiculous, really!

These are the steamed brussel sprouts that I had with the curried battered chicken.

Then, cut the chicken into strips or small pieces. Then heat your oil in your medium sized frying pan on medium heat. There is a lot of medium-ness happening in this recipe.

The egg and milk mixture…but I goofed and added the spices to this. I was too excited, I guess!

Next is the fun part! Take one of your chicken pieces, dip it the egg batter, make sure it’s covered in eggy goo and then dredge it into your spicy flour mix. Don’t be shy. Make sure that piece is covered with spicy flour. You may have to push the chicken into the flour to ensure that it’s covered.

Finally, you get to cook that sucker. Put the piece in the frying pan and listen to it sizzle. While it’s cooking, you can batter the other pieces of chicken.

The delicious pieces of battered chicken sizzling in the pan!

Cook your chicken for about 5 minutes on each side. I cut one big piece in half to make sure it wasn’t pink on the inside.

I served mine with brussel sprouts, but this would be great on top of brown rice or on top of a salad or even in a wrap! But, if yours turn out anything like mine, you’ll be more than happy to stand in your kitchen eating them off the plate that they are supposed to be cooling on.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 2.

Enjoy!

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Benefits of Turmeric: Why It’s Finally Okay To Be Yellow-Bellied

The third spice that I’d like to talk about in my spice series (and no, I don’t mean THIS spice series) is turmeric (ter-mer-ick). Did you know that back in the day, this spice was referred to as “Indian Saffron”? Yes. It was. Not only is it CHALK-FULL of benefits, but it also happens to be that spice that gives curry its yellow colour!

Curcumin is the element of turmeric that gives this spice its orange-yellow colour is said to be the main pharmacological ingredient in turmeric (what provides us with amazing health benefits). It’s even more powerful than an over the counter anti-inflammatory like Motrin and the best part is that because it is natural, it is completely safe (i.e. prolonged use won’t cause ulcers, decreased white blood cell count, and intestinal bleeding). Scary stuff! They don’t put that on the labels, do they?

Did you know, too, that inflammation isn’t just caused by pulling a muscle or spraining your arm but it’s mainly caused by the foods we eat – especially too many processed foods. These heavily tax our liver and our digestive system creating a toxic environment and basically wreaking havoc on your entire body. Inflammation has been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. That’s why it’s SO important to cut out the out junk, detoxify the liver and eat as “cleanly” as possible.

Incorporating turmeric into your diet is a great way to reduce this inflammation, but like I said, the whole diet needs to be re-adjusted. To put it into perspective it’s like having a gruelling workout to cancel out a bag of chips that you mowed down in your car on your way home from work. The workout doesn’t “cancel out” the chips. In fact, the chips (or whatever junk food – chocolates, candies, fast food etc) would decrease the energy you have for your workouts and your ability to recover since most junk foods are laden with sodium and sugar. Both those are topics for another day 🙂

Here are some of the main health benefits:

  • Powerful anti-inflammatory
  • Effective treatment against inflammatory bowel disease
  • Relief from rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help for cystic fibrosis suffers
  • Cancer prevention
  • Improved liver function
  • Cardiovascular protection
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Protection against Alzheimer’s

Wow…Is there anything it can’t do? Seriously.

I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “Where can I buy this wonder spice?”

Well…pretty much at any grocery store but I recommend you buy organic to get a better flavour and a fresher product. It’s best to buy turmeric straight up to get maximum benefits and not the curry powder since the amount of turmeric in the composition tends to be diluted, so to speak.

I come from an Irish Catholic background so of course, I did not grow up with this spice. In my home, salt and pepper were the staples and paprika was the most exotic spice I’d ever heard of until I moved out on my own and explored other cultural dishes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But now that I’m living on my own and cook my own meals, I make sure that I use it in my cooking at least 3 to 4 times a week. You don’t necessarily have to make curries all the time, just add about a 1/4 tsp in with your other spices if you make a stir fry or add it home made salad dressing. I recently discovered turmeric tea which isn’t half bad (with a bit of agave/honey). More on that later. To get the maximum benefits they recommend 1.2 to 1.8 grams a day (1g = 1 tsp in case you were wondering).

This week, I’ll share with you my experiences with said tea and I’ll share with you a different twist on making chicken curry!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Ginger Beef

Happy Saturday everyone! How’s your weekend going so far?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat enough red meat. Why? Well, mostly because I get bored with how to prepare it.  I usually eat more of it when the weather is cooler by throwing it in to tomato sauces or making meat balls out of it. If I had a bbq, I’d totally be making hamburgers  but I don’t. So I’m not. But, this next recipe has made me forget all about juicy hamburgers. Trust me.

It’s another saucy one but just as easy (or easier) than the teriyaki recipe from Thursday. This was even amazing the next day. The combination of the ginger and the honey with the spices gave it so many levels of flavour. I happened to have made this on a cold, rainy day so this was the perfect remedy for feeling blah.

Ginger Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp agave or honey
  • 3 tbsps of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp water
  • t tsp cornstarch, optional

Method:

Combine all ingredients (save for the cornstarch, that would be bad for business if yo mixed that in) in a blender or food processor until liquefied.

Done.

 Not to brag, but I saved myself about half a minute and bought my beef pre-cut. But, if you buy steaks, cube them so they are bite sized and easy to eat. Did you know that grocery stores are now selling anti-biotic and hormone free meat at about the same price as the other meat? If you had the choice, why wouldn’t you opt to buy that instead?

 To get started, add a bit of olive oil to your heated frying pan then throw in the beef. Let the beef simmer on one side for a few minutes or until it has browned.

Turn the meat pieces over and add your veggies.

For my veggies, I used a yellow bell pepper (chopped), spinach, carrots (chopped) and green onion (chopped), but be as creative as you like with your veggies. These were what I had on hand.

Pour your ginger sauce over the beef and veggies frying in your wok and let everything simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes (or until the meat and veggies have cooked). You’ll want to stir everything around about half-way through.

Before everything has cooked...
Before… 
After!

I served mine with brown rice pasta but this would be good on its own or with brown rice or quinoa.  I still had left over quinoa, so I was bad ass and mixed a bit of quinoa in with the beef plus the brown rice pasta. It was delicious!

TIP! If you want to thicken your sauce, like I did, remove the hot liquid from your wok after everything has cooked and in a separate bowl, stir in the corn starch with a fork (make sure you smush all the clumps, too). Once it has reached the desired thickness, add it back in to the stir fry.

Side Note: If you don’t feel like adding the veggies, no problem. Just cook the beef with the ginger sauce. You could always serve this with a side salad or whip up that asparagus dish from last week.

Enjoy!

Stay tuned for next weeks post  – all about turmeric!

Recipe: Asian Inspired Stirfry

Is it just me, or is time passing by really quickly? I can’t believe that we’re almost in the middle of May! I feel like I blinked and the year is nearly half over. But, a lot of great things have been accomplished so far this year (like going to Florida for a work conference, making it through my first Bikram class after a hiatus for more than a year, and finding an awesome room mate) so really, there’s no need for me to complain.

The only real thing I have to complain about are my allergies. Those damn dandelions that grow on every inch of land in my neighbourhood are dying and thus, their white little fluffiness is flying around everywhere. Granted, since I’ve started eating better they aren’t as severe as before. Still, I wake up in the morning feeling groggy and exhausted. Sometimes it takes me a minute to remember whether or not I went out drinking the night before or not. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Today’s post isn’t about allergies or amazing trips to Florida, it’s about making a kick-ass stir fry! Last week, I shared with you a recipe for a Thai inspired stir fry and this week, I’m raising the bar with this little diddy,  an Asian inspired stir fry with homemade tereyaki sauce. You’re welcome!

Maybe even hearing the word “home made” is making you cringe. Are you conjuring up images of an old 1950’s house wife slaving away in her kitchen for hours? Don’t. This recipe is super easy and super delicious. Not only that, but you know exactly what you’re putting into your sauce.

Ginger is key for this recipe. It adds a bit of heat and just enough zing to make your mouth water for more. You can even use it as  marinade for chicken or beef. I wish I thought of that before! But it’s still amazing either way.

Ingredients – The Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or grated)
  • 3 tbsp of agave or honey
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of corn starch

Method:

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the cornstarch, in a small sauce pan.

Cook on medium heat and stir rapidly with a whisk until the mixture has boiled (about 3 minutes or so).

Then, add the cornstarch and mix it in until the liquid thickens. Voila, done!

This was so simple, it wasn’t even funny. Or was it?

Add to your stir fry or use as a marinade for meats.

For my stir fry, I used water chestnuts, carrots, broccoli, green onion and chilli flakes to add some heat. I had some leftover quinoa so I mixed that in with my stir fry. Delicious!

Enjoy!

Benefits of Ginger

The second spice that I’d like to talk to you about in my spice series is ginger. And, no, I don’t mean this Ginger Spice. I’m referring to the super spice that adds a bit of zing to sauces and teas and is infamous in Asian cooking.

(Side note: Now I have that song, “Spice Up Your Life” stuck in my head. God, I miss the ’90s!).

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Ginger is a root that was originally cultivated in South Asia and has spread to East Africa and the Carribean. It’s available year round at your local market or grocery store.

Benefits:

  • Gastrointestinal relief. Prevents symptoms of motion sickness and seasickness. It also reduces other symptoms including nausea, dizziness, vomiting and cold sweats. It’s even safe to consume while you’re pregnant to aid with morning sickness.
  • Anti-inflammatory. It contains very potent anit-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. Studies have shown that it reduces pain for those suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from Candida, like I was, ginger has a soothing effect on any inflammation that the candida growth may have on your intestinal tract.
  • Protection against colorectal cancer.
  • Induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells. The extracts in the ginger have been shown to have anti-tumour effects on cancer cells
  • Immune booster. This spice promotes healthy sweating which is very useful when you’re trying to fight off a nasty cold or flu. Usually, it’s used in ginger teas or hot drinks.

Fresh or dried?

Personally, I choose fresh whenever possible. Not only does it pack in more flavour but it contains higher levels of gingerol (that amazing element of ginger that gives us so many of those great benefits that I was telling you about). With that said, dried is useful if you’re making sauces or baking as it easily dissolves in the liquid.

I’ll admit it, ginger isn’t the most attractive thing you’ll see in the grocery store, but don’t  be put off by its nubbiness (if that’s even a word). Before you throw
one in your basket, make sure that it’s firm, smooth and free of mold.

Uses:

Ginger is often used in teas or hot drinks, especially if you aren’t feeling well. If I’m suffering from the flu or I’ve eaten something that isn’t quite agreeing with me, I’ll cut off a quarter inch of ginger, peel it, chop it into smaller pieces and either throw it my green tea or make a hot honey, lemon and ginger drink. It usually does the trick!

Tell us, what’s your favourite way to cook with ginger?

*** Stay tuned for my Asian inspired recipe using this zesty spice!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Asaparagus with Lemon and Garlic

What a busy week! Between work, exercising, errands, cooking, writing, socializing, cleaning, commuting, reading and sleeping, I’m spent by Friday. I’m tired just writing this!

If your weeks are anything like mine and even if they’re not (who am I kidding?) you’ll be excited for this recipe. It’s easy and ready within 20 minutes – a fantastic side to any sort of meat dish, too!

Asparagus is great, especially when you buy it fresh. According to this website, here are 8 benefits:

  1. can detoxify our system
  2. has anti-aging functions
  3. is considered an aphrodisiac
  4. can protect against cancer
  5. reduces pain and inflammation
  6. can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
  7. reduces the risk of heart disease
  8. can help prevent birth defects

Not too shabby, eh? Since it’s an aphrodisiac, why not load up on this super food with someone special and reap the benefits together. I have to say, asparagus combined with garlic will be the newest power couple in the veggie world. Not only will this make one excellent dish but it’s good for your health, too!

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus (cut ends off and then cut in half)
  • 2 tbsp of butter (organic, unsalted) – melted
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Wash and cut the asparagus (make sure you cut those ends off and discard).

Place in a medium-sized baking dish.

In  small bowl, mix the lemon juice, melted butter, spices and garlic (use a whisk if you have one or a fork if you don’t).

Drizzle over the asparagus and cover the dish with tinfoil (shiny side down).

Bake for 15 minutes.

At the half way mark, turn the asparagus using tongs.

Serve as a side dish!

I served mine with coconut chicken (inspired from Thursday’s recipe) mixed with quinoa.

TIP! Combine this GLORIOUS juice with some cornstarch (just add a little at a time until it thickens) in a separate bowl and drizzle over your asparagus.

Serves 2

Cooking time:

Prep: 5 minutes

Baking: 15

Enjoy!

Stay tuned for my next post where I talk about ginger!

Recipe: Thai Inspired Stir Fry

Today’s recipe is an oldy but a goody. If you like Thai food but don’t want leave your apartment to get take-out or not enough funds in the bank to go to Thailand BUT you do have enough veggies in the fridge to make this (more or less) then you are in luck!

In keeping with the garlic theme, I made sure to include garlic in this recipe – and believe you me, it was a wise decision! It added a certain sweetness to the curry that otherwise would not have been there. Or maybe it was due to the coconut milk. Either way, it turned out pretty darned good.

In my quest to find foods that are both antiviral yet delicious, I stumbled upon coconuts. Coconuts for me have become this wonder fruit and I try to incorporate this ingredient into as many meals and drinks as I can on a daily basis. In my previous post all about coconuts, I gush about how not only they are high in magnesium (which is excellent if you are active) but they kill the bad bacteria in your gut and aid to flush it all out. Incredible.

Give this a try and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (I used light organic)
  • 1 handful of baby carrots – chopped
  • 1/4 head of broccoli – the florets only
  • 1/4 cup of red onion – finely chopped
  • Chicken (as desired) – make sure it’s cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 bell pepper – cut into strips length-wise
  • 1 small romano tomato – diced
  • 2 baby bella mushrooms – diced
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder (or to taste)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 servings of brown rice pasta, brown/wild rice or quinoa

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan and add the spices and let this simmer until fragrant (usually about a minute or so). Add the onions and stir.

The red onions sizzling in the pan with the spices.

Then add the chicken pieces, tomatoes and mushrooms. Let all of this goodness simmer for about 5 minutes.

Here she is…in all of her glory….

Next, stir in the coconut milk (you’ll want to slowly mix this in so that it doesn’t splatter everywhere).

This is what I used…YUM!

Flip the chicken pieces over (they should be browned by now) and then add the broccoli and the bell peppers.

Stir everything together. Let everything simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the broccoli has cooked. You’ll know it’s cooked when it starts to appear softer in texture.

By now your rice pasta/rice/quinoa should be ready. Add this in and mix it all in together! Don’t be shy!

Let everything sit for a few minutes and serve.

The final product! I had 2 helpings and even had enough for lunch the next day.

Serves 2-3 people.

Prep time: 5 to 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 to 20 minutes

Total: 30 minutes

Enjoy!

Benefits of Garlic – Look out, Edward Cullen!

The first spice I’d like talk about, and this can be fresh or powdered, is garlic.

Garlic isn’t just for vampires, it boasts quite a  few health benefits:

  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial and antiviral (fights bacterial infections like candida and viruses like the common cold)
  • Aids in increasing your iron metabolism
  • Immune system booster
  • Blood thinner
  • Contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Selenium.

All the more reason to load up! Garlic is versatile and can be added to many recipes including sauces, stir fries, meat dishes, etc.

According to Science Daily:

“Researchers have widely believed that the organic compound, allicin – which gives garlic its aroma and flavour – acts as the world’s most powerful antioxidant.”

Is fresh better than dry? Honestly, I’m not sure. There are pros and cons to both. According to Live Strong’s website, powder is just as powerful as fresh. Plus, powder is easy to store and never really goes bad. The only real difference that I can surmise is that garlic powder tends to be sweeter than fresh garlic and can be used more easily as a seasoning. It all depends on what your preference is.

Personally, I prefer fresh over powder because I tend to believe that the fresher the ingredients, the better.

Tell us, what’s your favourite garlic dish?

Stay tuned for my Thai inspired recipe using this wonder spice!